February 10th - 11th - 12th
Our trip across the pond was rather uneventful except when the flight attendants threatened to turn the plane around and arrest the man seated in front of me if he didn’t give them the large open bottle of vodka that he had brought on board with him. Both Mary and I were very good about wearing our surgical face mask; easy to do when everyone around you is coughing and sneezing. It also provided us with moisture in the dry air. The attendants said they thought we were very smart in using them.
We arrived in London after an eight hour flight about 10 am. We were both a bit sleep deprived but in surprisingly good shape. It was about 1 pm by the time we purchased our London Pass, used the ATM and traveled by train and then Underground Tube to our hotel located near the British Museum. The Underground proved to be a real problem with the two large suitcases plus our hand luggage and too many trips up and down stairs without escalators. Most of the time we’d be given assistance by a willing gentlemen and that helped but we were both exhausted by the time we arrive. On street level the bags are not a problem; just the lifting of them and there was no way to do them one at a time in the crowded stairwells of the Underground.
Checked into the hotel and found our twin bedded room on the second floor. It is a narrow room but in very good condition with a clean bathroom and shower just doors away down the hall. Soon we were off to see London!
Traveling by the Underground we arrived at St. Paul’s Cathedral just as it started to sprinkle. We’d brought along our rain ponchos so we were prepared. We hopped on the Tube again for a ride to Westminster Station to visit Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and we walked across the Westminster Bridge to the south side and the London Eye.
What a spectacular experience. It is a large glass pod (possibly heavy plastic) that holds about a dozen people. Like the one in Vienna that was used in the old movie “The Third Man Theme”, it moves in a slow continuous circle that allows loading and unloading of passengers without actually stopping. You are only on for one revolution; but what a view we had of London at sunset from the top of the wheel. It was raining but that only added to the experience. Soon we were back down to earth and with rain gear on headed for the Waterloo Station for our ride home on the Underground Tube.
Feeling very confident when we arrived at the Tottenham Court Station we went up stairs and soon discovered I’d lost my bearings. It was pouring raindrops and I was completely lost; and I’d done so good earlier in the day finding the hotel from the Tube with absolutely no problems. There are three exits and we’d taken a different one tonight. We went around in circles; finding a MacDonald’s with free wireless Internet, the Starbucks and then finally after a good twenty minutes…our route to the hotel. There we changed our wet socks and then walked around the corner to a Fish & Chips Restaurant to enjoy our one big meal in London. Finally hit the hay about 9 pm.
Thursday morning we were awake by 5 am and decided to walk to MacDonald’s with the computers to try out the Internet and get some breakfast. Both worked fine. By 8 am we were headed out for the Tower of London Tour. It’s cold but dry; so cold the puddles have ice on them and we occasionally saw small piles of snow! We were the first ones into the Towers so enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the exhibits before walking over to tour the Tower Bridge. Then we walked along the Queen’s Walk all the way to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre for an hour tour of the reconstructed copy of the original playhouse.
By 1 pm we were on our way by the Tube to Kensington Palace to begin our “Princess Diana Tour”. We toured the palace and then walked through Hyde Park to see her Water Memorial; a very moving experience. It is a circular waterway with different features representing different periods of her life. Still walking we made a short visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum before entering Harrods for the final stop of our tour to see the statutes.
By the time we left it was snowing and by the time we’d arrived at Tottenham Station it was really snowing but we continued to the British Museum for a short visit before completing our day about 6 pm. A very long day spent mostly walking in London!
A quick dinner at MacDonald’s gave us Internet time and we were both able to use Skype to talk to the husbands by webcam. It really does work. Hope you’ve enjoyed sharing our first two days in London.
My sister Mary has a blogspot also with more photos of me and her version of our story.
Check her out at: http://the-traveling-twins.blogspot.com
For those that signed up with me, I will be emailing the full version of our story in London when we arrive in Portugal....